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Recreation is one of the most popular, and sought-after activity by people nowadays. Having said that, people have always made it a point to find means for them to have fun. In the past, the ways in which they do so were limited.
Sports and outdoor games, and conversing with each other used to be the only way for them to do so. As technology advanced in the recent years, however, it has expanded the options for recreation as well.
Entertainment has, nowadays, well extended into the digital realm. Having said that, fictional worlds where people take on and play roles as characters, virtual versions of outdoor games, and other game types are so commonplace nowadays, that it could be said that the average person’s childhood would not be complete without exposure to at least one of these video games.
Having said all this, we might end up being curious as to how all of these games started. To answer this particular question, here is a brief history of how these video game consoles started out and eventually evolved into the phenomenon they are known for being today.
Early Beginnings: Pre-Mainstream
Developments for the prototype of video game consoles could be traced back to the start of the 1960s, in which we are going to be marking the official start of the video game console timeline. Ralph Henry Baer was credited for making the earliest version of a video game console. He was known as “The Father of Video Games.”
His creation was dubbed as the “Brown Box,” primarily because of its color. The “Brown Box” served as the standard model for the video game consoles of today, as it pretty much allowed you to play a wide variety of games with a variety of controls.
Early Mainstream Consoles
Since the Brown Box, several other versions of consoles from other manufacturers have gone on to become mainstream. As a matter of fact, some of these brands continue to develop and even manufacture consoles up to this day.
The first commercially successful console was released in 1971. The Magnavox Odyssey by Baer sold as much as 100,000 units in its first year in the market which served as an expansion of the roster of features the Brown Box has.
Atari: The Early Console Market Dominator
In the world of video game consoles, Atari was one of those that dominated the market, as it was popular among consumers. They began with the Atari Pong in 1975, which helped to bring improvements to the table tennis game that was found in previous console models as well.
Their version now included sound, a feature that was absent onearlier consoles. Moreover, specifically with the launch of its 2600 model, Atari has helped to make consoles popular among the masses.
While it was one of the most popular companies for consoles in the past, the rise of other brands has contributed to its demise. Its last console that it introduced to the market was launched in 1993. This was the Jaguar, a 64-bit entertainment system for multimedia. This, however, sold poorly. Eventually, Atari was sold off to other companies.
The Rise of Nintendo
Up next in the video game console timeline is the Japan-based company Nintendo. They started out in 1983, with the release of the Famicom, a portmanteau of Family Computer. This went on to become a commercial success.
Within the span of two years, Nintendo was able to create an 8-bit processing system for its consoles, which enabled users to play with more advanced games. Some of these popular games included Duck Hunt, Excitebike, and Super Mario, with the latter still being a favorite game to this day.
Sega: An Early Competitor
One of the most iconic brands for old consoles is another Japan-based company, Sega. They rose to popularity in 1988, thanks to the 16-bit processing system that its console sets, the Sega Genesis, has. This was the first successful version and one which sparked close competition with Nintendo.
Popular games that were played on the Sega Genesis included adventure games for Sonic the Hedgehog, which has well expanded into its other future consoles. Just like Atari, however, it has experienced a decline in popularity and has failed to survive the intense competitions in the video gaming industry.
The Xbox, Nintendo, Sony: The Modern-Day “Big Three”
While game console manufacturers have come and gone in the past, there have been some that entered, stayed and dominated. Various brands have released different consoles through the years, with some of these console brands being more popular than others.
Nowadays, the three most popular brands include the Sony PlayStation series, Microsoft’s Xbox, as well as Nintendo and its Wii consoles.
All these brands have begun surfacing since the early 90’s to 2000s, and its popularity has continued to this day. The PlayStation by Sony, having launched in 1994, the Xbox in 2001, and the Nintendo Wii in 2006 has since released several versions of their consoles, most of which have well expanded beyond merely a tool for playing games.
Other consoles, on the other hand, have ventured out into wireless control systems, as well as the integration of motion sensors to provide users with a whole new gaming experience.
These technological advancements, specifically video game consoles have come a long way already. From its humble beginnings, it has slowly but surely captivated the hearts and interest of the masses, and from there, expanded the means through which it can be enjoyed.
From what used to be audio-free, black and white, as well as severely limited options when it comes to video gaming, it eventually expanded to full-on 16-bit and 32-bit processing units, and now, consoles that are capable of online streaming, virtual reality, and even 3D viewing.
All in all, video game consoles have been an important means of recreation among kids and adults alike, and the developments in the years ahead, regarding what a console could potentially do seems to be promising.